• Cloud Spanner is a fully managed relational database service that offers global scalability, high consistency, and high availability.
  • Developers may now evaluate Spanner at no cost, taking advantage of several guided tutorials and a sample database.

Google Cloud announced significant changes to several of its major database systems, including a free trial for those looking to test Cloud Spanner. It also launched Datastream, a new service for BigQuery that makes it easier to gain real-time insights.

The majority of the announcements are focused on expanding the possibilities of cloud databases. Andi Gutmans, Vice President and General Manager of the database at Google, said, “We’ve passed the tipping point for databases in the cloud,” noting that Gartner Inc. says more than half of database usage is now in the cloud. A lot of that is fueled by transformative applications.”

Cloud Spanner is a fully managed relational database service that offers global scalability, high consistency, and high availability. It is a commercial version of the relational database that Google uses internally to run its consumer services, such as Google Search, Gmail, etc. The system uses conventional SQL syntax for queries and includes service-level agreements that guarantee a maximum uptime of 99.999%. This equates to less than one hour of downtime annually.

Sailesh Krishnamurthy, Vice President of engineering for databases at Google Cloud, stated that he anticipates many developers would desire to explore and test the possibilities of Spanner. However, many have been unable to do so due to the cost of the service, which makes basic experimental programs unaffordable. To address this issue, Google has announced the availability of free trial instances for Spanner, allowing users to test the service without any expense.

Developers may now evaluate Spanner at no cost, taking advantage of several guided tutorials and a sample database. According to Krishnamurthy, the trial instances come with 10 GB of storage for up to 90 days. Users may unlock Spanner’s full capabilities at any moment during the trial by purchasing a subscription to get limitless scale and multi-region deployments.

Gutmans said the business experienced a 10-fold increase in Spanner demand after it announced more granular instance sizes. “We hope the free trial will help,” he added.

The preview availability of fine-grained access control is the second upgrade for Spanner. Users may now approve access to Spanner data at the table and column level. The database already offers identity and access management controls, but the fine-grained access is intended to make it easier to safeguard transactional data and guarantee adequate security when allowing access to particular portions of the database. For instance, according to Gutmans, if the database contains personally identifiable information such as Social Security numbers, such information can be concealed from developers creating applications using Spanner.

Datastream for BigQuery, Google’s serverless cloud data warehouse, will also be available in preview. Datastream is a new technology that enables users to easily enable real-time insights in BigQuery by following a few simple steps.

According to Google, the agentless solution replicates every event reliably as it happens and replicates data from operational database sources directly into BigQuery. Then, users may set up an extract, load and transform pipeline for low-latency data replication that enables real-time insights.

Klook Travel Technology Ltd’s senior data manager, Stacy Zhu, said her organization has been testing Datastream for BigQuery for quite some time to make data-driven business choices.

Stacy Zhu said, “Prior to adopting Datastream, we had a team of data engineers dedicated to the task of ingesting data into BigQuery, and we spent a lot of time and effort making sure that the data was accurate. With Datastream, our data analysts can have accurate data readily available to them in BigQuery with a simple click. We enjoy Datastream’s ease of use, and its performance helps us achieve large scale ELT data processing.”

Sources for Datastream include MySQL, PostgreSQL, AlloyDB, and Oracle databases, which can be hosted on-premises or on Google Cloud’s infrastructure.

According to Krishnamurthy, many businesses are seeking to transition from historical databases to PostgreSQL to prevent vendor lock-in, shorten the learning curve for development teams, and decrease expenses. Today, Krishnamurthy announced that Google Cloud’s Database Migration Service allows migrations from PostgreSQL databases to AlloyDB, a PostgreSQL-compatible service that is reportedly four times quicker when performing transactional workloads. With DMS support, customers can transfer PostgreSQL workloads to AlloyDB with only a few clicks.

Brazil’s CURA Grupo, a medical diagnostics giant, made this decision because it was experiencing growing issues with its on-premises PostgreSQL database. With the necessity to preserve the results of more than 30,000 medical tests performed daily, CURA Grupo determined that cloud storage would be more practical. Thanks to DMS, the database migration from PostgreSQL to AlloyDB required only 20 minutes of downtime.